Yesterday was my chain mail class. This was a first-time, experimental class for just about everyone, including the instructor. It was also a very small class–all of five of us, including the instructor and one participant who already does chain mail.
I did not come away with a chain mail bracelet–but I know how to make one, if I want to, now. I did come away with samples I made of three different weaves, hands-on experience (which is what I really went for), and an appreciation of the craft.
We worked with soft aluminum wire (which you can actually manipulate without recourse to pliers). I can only imagine trying to do the same thing with steel or iron rings–and then having to either rivet or forge-weld the links in order to strengthen the mail. I’ve decided if I ever do write a character who makes chain mail, he’s going to be an alcoholic. Straight from his workshop to the nearest alehouse. He’ll need a drink–or several–after a day of working on some of the more difficult weaves (which I haven’t even attempted yet).
Yes, I said yet. I do think this could be a fun craft to play around with. It turns out there are a lot of things you can do with chain mail techniques short of attempting a mail shirt. Bracelets. Chains. Pendants. Even Christmas ornaments and candle holders. There are even kits you can buy, which could be an effective way to learn some of the techniques. There was even a sample of a banner in European four-in-one pattern using different colored wires to depict a dragon. I do cross-stitch patterns. I could make my own chain mail patterns, too.
But first, I’ve got to get back to finishing THE BARD’S GIFT. I want it ready to start querying next month. I only have the polishing edit to go. Oh, and I’m trying to draw a map of Greenland, Iceland, Baffin Island, Newfoundland, and part of the Saint Lawrence River. We’ll see how that goes. With my drawing skills, I’d probably be better off practicing chain mail.